Maybe it’s because I don’t support a “big” club, but I look at SD Eibar and I like what I see. It’s small, part of the community, but still prepared to mix it with the larger clubs and bruise a few egos along the way. Why can’t my team do that? Oh yeah, I remember... they’re crap!
Eibar is in the west of Guipuzcoa, on the border with Vizcaya and 25 miles from Bilbao and San Sebastian. It used to be a major player in the Spanish steel industry and is renowned for the quality of its handguns. At a peak in the 1970’s, it had a population of nearly 40,000. Today that figure is nearer 27,000.
|Hemmed-in, but Eibar get the most out of Ipurua|
|Ipurua in the late 1940's|
|Ipurua in the 1970's|
During the 1980’s Eibar’s fortunes improved on the field and basic improvements were made to the ground. This included the erection of a basic cover at the western end of the ground. In 1988 SD Eibar reached Liga Adelente, but Ipurua was probably the most basic stadium in the division. Matters were complicated by the fact that the urban area of the town had spread westwards and severely restricted space to the north of the ground. SD Eibar efforts in La Segunda during the nineties were impressive, finishing as high as fifth in 94/95 & 96/97. Even when struggling, SD Eibar did not give up the fight. With five games to go in the 98-99 season, the club was adrift at the foot of the table, eleven points behind 18th placed Mallorca B. Incredibly, SD Eibar won its final five games and finished a point ahead of Mallorca, thus retaining their place in the second division.
|Ipurua's main stand - April 2011|
In 1998, the club received funding in 1998 from the local council and ‘Liga de Professional Fútbol’ and started a project to completely remodel Ipurua. The original main stand was demolished and a new, full-length covered stand was constructed. This had a capacity of approximately 2,800, which would be over half of remodelled grounds capacity. In 1999, work started on refurbishing the end stands and finally in 2001, the narrow north terrace was roofed and 4 rows of seats were installed. Work was completed with the installation of a new drainage system and pitch.Today, Ipurua is a modern, if somewhat compact stadium and has a fully seated capacity of 5,250.
Between 1988 and 2009, SD Eibar spent all but one season in La Segunda, achieving a high of fourth in 2004-05. They have played in Group II of Segunda B since 2009, finishing runners-up in 09-10 and winning the title a year later. Unfortunately, the play-offs have proved to be their Achilles Heel. This season sees the club handily placed in a very tight division. Given the club's ability to over-achieve, don't be surprised to see them back in the second division some time soon.
|Ipurua - Pint-sized perfection|